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Texas State Senator Says Controversial CSCOPE May Be Wasting Millions

by Eric Robinson, published

It seems the controversial CSCOPE lesson plans may survive after all.

After being seemingly dismantled by conservatives in May due to allegations of an anti-American and pro-Islamic bias, along with the lesson plans being simply inefficient, a Wednesday meeting had an attorney of the Texas State Board of Education reveal that due to the lesson plans of CSCOPE being classified as public domain, there is absolutely nothing stopping school districts from using them.

A Friday meeting, which was meant to clarify these revelations, further increased confusions when it ended without the SBOE providing further guidance as to whether Texas school districts should continue to use the CSCOPE lesson plans.

The chairperson of the meeting, SBOE member Barbara Cargill, left the job up to legislators whether to clarify whether the school districts are able to use the lesson plans. “It's not up to the state board," Said Cargill.

The Texas Attorney General’s office has since requested an audit of the program, along with the help of Senator Patrick. A Facebook post form Senator Patrick had this to say about the issue:

Over the past few months I told several groups that I was working with the Attorney General's office and planned to ask the State Auditor to perform an audit of the CSCOPE program. My concern is that millions of dollars may have been spent by the program without the proper bidding process, contracts, and full transparency, required by government entities when using taxpayer money. On Friday of last week the Attorney General's office sent a letter to our state auditor, John Keel, sharing their concerns about CSCOPE. Yesterday, as Chairman of Education, I sent a letter to Mr Keel requesting an official state audit of the program. After months of research, once again with the tireless help of the grassroots, it appears that CSCOPE may have spent millions of dollars outside of normal government rules and regulations. I am not suggesting any wrong doing at this time. However, we need a full state audit to examine exactly what taxpayer money was spent and how it was spent since the inception of this program. Another CSCOPE issue was raised this week by a TEA attorney who said that schools could possibly use any CSCOPE material still in the public domain. We disagree with his analysis, but are checking further into this matter. The CSCOPE lesson plans are no longer available after August 31. I urge parents to monitor closely the decision of their districts who attempt to use any public domain material whether it is CSCOPE or another program and to make sure their voice is heard. According to the Texas Tribune districts that used CSCOPE saw lower scores on the STAAR tests than districts who did not use the program. This is in addition to the mistake ridden and objectionable lesson plans we uncovered in our hearings this year. It is clear that the majority of teachers, parents, and legislators want CSCOPE lesson plans gone from the classroom. I will continue do everything possible to ensure that no one tries to slip these flawed and failed lesson plans under the classroom door.

Cargill said the board will further discuss CSCOPE at its Sept. 18 meeting.

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